Wood Harbinger Inc.: Green River Community College Mel Lindbloom Student Union

Electrical, power; lighting; communication systems; audio/visual.

By Wood Harbinger Inc. August 11, 2016

Engineering firm: Wood Harbinger Inc.

2016 MEP Giants rank: 97

Project: Green River Community College Mel Lindbloom Student Union

Location: Auburn, Wash.

Building type: Educational facility

Project type: New construction

Engineering services: Electrical, power; lighting; communication systems; audio/visual

Project timeline: October 2012 to January 2016

MEP/FP budget: $6 million


Wood Harbinger provided the electrical engineering and LEED documentation for Green River Community College’s new student union, in Auburn, Wash., a high-priority project that replaced the seismically unsound, 36-year old complex that was in violation of multiple codes. The building had undergone many Band-Aid fixes over the years, yet was still failing to meet the needs of the students and the college in providing a safe, supportive, and inspiring environment.

The new 71,000-sq-ft facility consolidates student-amenity functions into one building including the campus bookstore, a café and kitchen, a theater space, fitness studios, a basketball court, a game room and space for student offices, a study area, and conference rooms. The variety of new spaces each required their own unique design elements that had to be incorporated into the overall building theme and design.

The theater and stage area proved particularly challenging, as it is a multipurpose space that will be used as the main dining area for the café. Our electrical and lighting system designs needed to accommodate this space’s primary general-use nature as well as provide the specialty lighting and controls needed to achieve the stage setup.

Part of this project involved demolition and renovation of portions of an existing 2-story building near the project site to accommodate the new building. The campus shipping and receiving department operates out of this space. The top floor of the existing building was removed and made into a plaza. The basement needed to remain functional for the shipping and receiving operations. The building’s main electrical service had entered on the top floor, requiring Wood Harbinger to reroute power and communication services to the basement.


Wood Harbinger’s design included underground power and communication services; interior power; interior and exterior lighting; door-access infrastructure; and clock, fire alarm, telephone, and data systems. We incorporated sustainable elements like LED light fixtures with automatic daylight-control systems for those located adjacent to windows. The LEDs saved 20% to 30% in energy consumption, supporting the project’s bid for LEED Silver certification and a more efficient and cost-effective useful building life.

In the existing building on the project site, Wood Harbinger was able to use a spare circuit breaker in the nearby generator plant to reroute a new power feed into the remaining basement space. This was advantageous on two fronts: it provided a convenient and cost-effective solution, because the generator plant was nearby, and it enables the shipping and receiving operations to remain functional in the event of a power outage, as this space is now fed by the generators.

Throughout the building, we developed the audio-video programming around the desired user experience, planning the infrastructure and systems requirements for audio, visual, and controls for all spaces within the building. Our design followed through with systems that address the acoustical challenges in the space. Specialty systems include a buildingwide paging system and systems for the multipurpose stage area. In this space, we also designed a lighting solution that is practical and functional for everyday use in the space’s dining area setup, but incorporates fixtures and controls that will integrate seamlessly with the specialty theater lighting control system.